Sunday, 22 January 2017

Garden Birds

This morning we were thinking about going for as walk, but the cold weather turned to a smattering of snow, so we decided to see how the day progressed.
After morning coffee, I watched the garden activity.  As always, the squirrels were a main attraction.
There is a robin (or perhaps a pair of robins) who patrols the edge of the garden frequently.
The squirrels seldom stray far from the bird feeders when the weather is cold.  I suspect they consume about half of the bird food that we put out.
The main reason for feeding the birds in my mind, is to maintain the local sparrow population, which has shown an increase in the last 20 years.  That is also why we keep the hedges around the garden.
Starlings are always on the lookout for food. and can often be the first birds to attack the freshly filled feeders.  They usually arrive a dozen at a time, all scrapping for the same feeder, but we do occasionally see a lone bird during the day.
Now that it is cold, the goldfinches are regular visitors again.  They will sit on the feeders and eat till they are full.  They seldom move aside for other birds and the sparrows treat them with respect.
The other regular visitors are tits.  You have to be fast on the trigger to catch a blue tit as they fly in, grab and run.  We also see great tits and occasionally long tailed tits.  The feeders are always a source of passive entertainment for us.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Last of the garden produce

For lunch today I harvested the last 3 leeks from the raised beds.  They ended up in a leek and potato soup, which was excellent on a cold and wet winters day.  This was the last of the garden produce to be harvested.
For dinner, Rosie defrosted the last pack of gooseberries which we put into the freezer last year, intending to use them between Christmas and New Year.  She made a crumble which was yummy.
It is now time to think about planning the next years harvest - I shall probably set some tomato seeds next week.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Snow

 This morning there was snow on the ground.  About 2 inches had fallen overnight.  The road was pristine white in the early hours and glowing a little yellow under the street lights.
 Around the back we had the same, but looking a little different away from the lights.  This was the first snow fall of the season, and very sparse compared to previous years.
 As the local world awoke, the vehicle tracks appeared in the snow, and the footprints of cats, birds and postmen coloured the paths and lawns
 The bird feeders needed re-charging - as task that would take a little longer today.
 The initial clean up is only intended to make life easier in the short term.  With rising temperatures (+0.5 degrees C) the snow should soon start to melt back.
I have only cleared half of the driveway as we do not intend to use the car today.  A significant freeze is predicted for tonight, so I shall salt the drive.  We have a pack left over from last year.  No point in clearing the drive further as it may snow some more over night.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

All at Sea

X-Plane 11 - The Cessna Skymaster has a locating system which can be used to find beacon transmitters from a distance.  If the location system is set to the right frequency and the general direction is known, even the smallest target can be located.
 I have found an aircraft carrier at sea and lined the aircraft up for an approach to see if a landing is possible.
 Yes it is - in the right wind conditions I was able to land on 1/4 of the decking and bump over the arrester wires before coming to a stop.
 Take off was also straight forward with 1 flap position down and full power.  I doubt that this light aircraft could have taken off in a cross wind though.
The moving airfield seems so tiny - all at sea.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Enhanced Bread and Butter Pudding

This year we have been quite frugal about Christmas shopping.  As a result we have not wasted any food.  I made a Pannatoni for the season rather than a traditional Christmas cake and we were left with a small dry piece which I have used to make a pudding.
Having sliced up the seasonal bread, I butttered it and coated the slices with marmalade.
Having arranged the slices in  a dish, the next job was to make a stiff custard.
Pour the custard over the bread slices and make sure that it sinks to the bottom of the dish.  Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degree Celsius and enjoy.
That finishes off the Christmas left overs -  Ah, except for a small bottle of cider.  Now that will go down well with dinner.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

X-Plane 11 Yippee!

 I have just purchased the digital download for X-Plane 11.  The user key has enabled me to download the Beta X-Plane 11 and the current digital download X-Plane 10 - no more do I have to have the DVD disc1 in my drive to make the thing work.  $59.99 worked out at £49.02 at this time in a debit transaction.  The UK price may vary slightly depending on the exchange rate.
 This flight sim is a very good facsimile of real flying - some of the clouds are a bit basic, but otherwise it is a vast improvement on what has gone before.  The default aircraft set seems to be very good and I quite enjoyed flying this Beechcraft Baron on a trial trip.
As with all Beta test versions, you expect to find faults.  The "elevator down" trim button on my control column cannot be set, so I have to adjust the trim with my mouse or keyboard.  Not a great hardship.  I am now waiting until I can download the UK scenery to be able to test my own design airports.

 P.S. with the UK scenery now loaded, this is me taking off from my test "fictional scenery addition" airfield in  Yorkshire, to fly down to the Humber estuary.
 The default scenery looks very much like UK scenery.  The main roads and house groupings are in the right places on this flight and the motorways and railways can be seen clearly from the air.
 I was also able to fly past the Humber bridge, which is another scenery addition.
 Some of the basic airfields are not adorned with facilities, but that can be rectified with a bit of additional work. All in all a very satisfied customer......

Sunday, 1 January 2017